Today’s recipe is a little bit of a classic, comfort food classic at that – Family Favourite Easy Fish Pie! With September upon us and weather turning cooler, we all have perfectly valid excuse to turn on those ovens not only for sweet bakes but also proper, comfort food family dinners! Who is with me? 🙂
Making fish pie might seem a bit daunting at first, all those steps like poaching fish, preparing white sauce, mashed potato topping not mentioning boiling some eggs if you like them in your pie as well. The truth is, it really is not tricky at all plus quicker than you would think. A little bit of planning and organising yourself always helps e.g. while your fish is poaching, get on with the potatoes and eggs to save yourself some time and you will soon see that you are on a roll.
I must say this Family Favourite Easy Fish Pie is one of the meals I tend to batch cook on regular basis to have one ready in the freezer for when cooking is the last thing on my mind. The recipe below is easy enough to double and will yield you two very generous pies. When freezing I like to cover the top of the pie with a large piece of greaseproof paper, slightly overlapping the sides of the pie dish and wrap the entire thing in aluminium foil. To defrost simply take your pie out of the freezer the night before and pop it in the fridge until required the following evening. Alternatively, take it out on the morning of the day you want to cook it and let it defrost on the kitchen counter. Personally, that’s what I tend to do most of the time as I can never remember to take it out the night before lol. It’s fine to pop it into the oven when not completely defrosted but remember to adjust your timings and make sure your pie is piping hot on the inside as well as on the outside.
If you are not planning on freezing it but would like to get it ready in advance, simply keep it chilled in the fridge for up to two days and cook as per recipe below adding another 5-10min cooking time.
As for the best fish to use in your pie I find the mixture of salmon and any white fish (pollock, cod, haddock) simply the best. Frozen fish is perfectly adequate and I usually use half fresh salmon half frozen pollock. You can buy salmon offcuts in many supermarkets which are perfect for use in the pie and way cheaper too. I would stay away from the fish pie mixes though as they are a bit on a pricey side to be honest (although quite convenient so if you can afford them, by no means go for them).
What is your take on eggs in the fish pie? We all love them and as you can see I go for slightly less than hard-boiled (personal preference). Just a note, make sure not to put eggs in your pie if you intend to freeze it as it will turn super rubbery and horrible upon defrosting!
That’s pretty much what there is to it! Who’s ready for some delicious fish pie now?
If your family love comforting pies you should give this Shepherd’s Pie with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes a go. For some more batch cooking recipes you will make time and time again my Instant Pot Ragu Bolognese with “on the hob” instructions for those without Instant Pot and Veggie Lentils & Spinach Lasagne are my go to and loved by all!
Comfort food at its best. Favourite with kids and adults alike. Perfect for batch cooking and freezing too.
- 800 g fish (mix of pollock/cod/haddock/salmon) frozen fish is fine
- 600 ml milk
- 1 small onion peeled & halved
- 1 celery stick chopped into large chunks
- 1 small carrot peeled and roughly chopped into large chunks
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves
- 7 peppercorns
- 2 (semi) hard-boiled eggs optional (see recipe notes)
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley or dill chopped
- 100 g frozen peas or sweetcorn or mixture
- freshly grated nutmeg
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 50 g plain flour
- 1 kg potatoes
- 50 g unsalted butter
- splash of milk
- leftover white sauce for extra creaminess (if any)
- 50 g mature cheddar grated
Put your fish in a large, wide pan with a lid together with celery, carrot, onion (cut in half and each half studded with 2 cloves), bay leaves and peppercorns. Pour over the milk and place the pan on a gentle heat and bring it to a gentle boil (feel free to cover the pan to speed up the process but keep an eye on it). Uncover the pan and let the fish simmer gently in milk for approx. 5 min (longer if you are using frozen fillets). Take the fish off the heat and let it stand in the hot milk for 5-10 minutes to finish cooking.
As your fish is cooking prepare the potatoes by peeling them, cutting into chunks and boiling them in a pan of salted water until tender and ready to be mashed 15-20 min.
Take your poached fish out of the hot milk with slotted spoon and onto a dish you'll be using for a pie. Flake it gently into small pieces and set aside. Strain the milk you used to cook your fish in onto a jug discarding all the veg and aromatics.
In the same pan you poached fish in melt 50g unsalted butter, add the flour and let it cook in butter for a few seconds until it looks like a paste. Slowly add strained milk mixing gently with a whisk after each addition until you use up all the milk and the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper and few gratings of fresh nutmeg (to taste). Pour over the flaked fish. *Depending on the dish you are using you might have some sauce leftover which can be added to your mashed potato topping for extra creaminess.*
Add frozen peas or sweetcorn or mixture of both to the fish and the sauce and mix well. Sprinkle some fresh parsley or dill and place your boiled egg halves on top (if adding).
Drain potatoes and mash with 50g unsalted butter and a good splash of milk or some leftover white sauce (if any) for extra creaminess adjusting seasoning if needed. Top the pie with the mash making sure you spread it evenly, sealing neatly around the edges to prevent the filling bubbling over during baking. Sprinkle with some grated cheddar and bake in preheated oven at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for approx 30 minutes (until golden and bubbly). Enjoy with some extra peas or other veg of your choice on the side!
- Poaching time will depend on the thickness of your fish. It's better to slightly undercook it rather than overcook it especially that it will still have a chance to cook in the oven.
- You can use frozen fish without defrosting it but your poaching time will be slightly longer.
- The way I boil the eggs for the pie is so that I end up with egg yolk still slightly runny (they will cook more under the potato topping in the oven). My method is to lower the eggs on the large tablespoon gently into lightly simmering water with a drop of vinegar (this will prevent the white from sipping out if egg accidentally cracked) and simmer for 6 minutes. Run the eggs under the cold water straight after time is up to prevent them from cooking any further. Let them cool, peel and cut in half. Be gentle as the yolk will still be soft. If you prefer your yolk completely set feel free to cook them for longer.
- If you make one to freeze, don't add eggs as they will taste rubbery upon defrosting and baking. Fully defrost and bake from chilled adding another 5-10 min.
- Calories are approximate and per single (large) serving.
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